Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the Tate Modern, London
At the weekend, I headed to the opening of the new Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Tate Modern in London…and it did not disappoint! Kusama is perhaps Japan’s best-known living artist – famous for her colourful polka dot patterns – and has worked obsessively producing art since the 1940’s.
The exhibition traces the origins of Kusama’s work in the 1950’s (post-World War II) in an impoverished Japan, her move to America and the struggle to adjust, her experiences in the US during the late ’60’s (when the country was in the throes of cultural and sexual liberation) and finally her work of the last thirty years (produced from a mental institution, where she voluntarily admitted herself and where she remains to this day).
Meandering through the exhibition, you experience a transition from Kusama’s early work to her latter more well-known pieces; all the while visually seeing her increasing obsession with polka dots- displayed through her paintings, sculpture and film.
Kusama embarked on a period of performance experimentation in America in the late ’60’s (when the rise of hippie culture was challenging social norms with an open and experimental attitute). In her ‘Body Festivals’, Kusama encouraged naked participants to paint polka dots on one other’s bodies, while she filmed them.
There are a number of suprise rooms throughout the exhibition – drawing gasps of delight from the viewers. The last room (in particular) which is called the ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ is incredible. I won’t ruin it for you by describing it, but it is absolutely amazing…and very magical!
The Yayoi Kusama exhibition runs until June 5 2012 at the Tate Modern. In addition, Yayoi Kusama is set to collaborate with Louis Vuitton (who also sponsored the exhibition) this year…so, watch this space!